Definition Mobility impairment can include any or all of the following:
inability to move about as easily as others
limited movement of arms or legs
decrease in strength or control of the muscles and bones
abnormal or impaired co-ordination
medical condition requiring bed rest
What is the information for this topic? Impairment means some part of a person's body or mind does not function normally. To be an impairment, the problem must interfere with "normal" activities. There are many different mobility impairments.
Some things that determine the level of impairment are:
a decrease of strength or endurance
the presence of pain or discomfort
impaired ability to recognise familiar surroundings
Some of these conditions may be temporary but many are permanent. A permanent mobility impairment may result in the permanent need for assistive devices such as a cane, crutches, a walker or a wheelchair.
Physiotherapy is often used for many of these problems. This can keep the joints flexible, and the muscles stretched. Therapy may improve the ability to move about, and teach the person to use the assistive devices.
If the mobility is due to an amputation, artificial limbs can help the person return to daily activities. Some people are severely disabled, and may need to always rely on assistive devices for daily activities.
Generally people prefer to be as independent as possible. It is best for others to ask permission before helping someone with an impairment. Someone who uses a wheelchair may be especially sensitive about this. It is important not to push a person's wheelchair without asking his or her permission. One should also not lean on a person's wheelchair during conversation.
Author: Joy Householder, RN, CCM Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia Last Updated: 1/10/2001 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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